The Bless label began over two decades ago, in 1996, when fashion designers Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag embarked on their first collaboration — a somewhat bizarre fur wig. Their collections (now numbering 57) are part fashion, part product design, and part art. You can find many pieces housed in Bless Home, a concept store that stands out amongst the others thanks to its quirkiness — both in content and execution.
Aside from clothes they also design objects for the home, often created out of personal desire rather than just pandering to trends. Nº28 Climate Confusion Assistance, for example, includes a fur hammock. Items like this are at the heart of the Bless mantra. Why does a hammock have to be bright and holiday-like, when it can be re-imagined to better suit the style and climate of Northern Europe?
It’s not just the products that are unique, however. The way they’re presented is not in some fancy store alongside other fashion labels in Mitte, but in an altbau apartment in Prenzlauer Berg. After searching the intercom panel for ‘BLESS’, nestled amongst all the other residents of the building, you’re buzzed in and make your way up three flights of stairs.
Upon stepping through the door you’re presented with a flat where practically everything is for sale, from the extension cables embellished with wooden pearls to the clothes that hang from every available space. The aforementioned hammock forms the centrepiece of the living room, surrounded by home products and clothes that are all made and sold by Bless. The backdrop to all of this is one of the 3x4m posters that form another collection — Nº29 Wallscapes.
Even the bed sheets, slept in by the store manager, are for sale. That’s right. It’s not just an apartment that’s used as a store, but an actual lived-in space. As such, it can feel a bit odd at first; after all, you’re walking around someone’s home. Settle in with a coffee and chat with the current custodian, however, and you soon feel like you’re visiting a friend’s apartment rather than a store.
Words and photos by James Fancourt.